Faculty Tips

Please remember to maintain confidentiality when speaking to students regarding their accommodations. Students are not required to disclose the nature of their disability to instructors.

In our efforts to better service students, the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services (CARS) will be emailing Faculty Letters and Accommodation Plans directly to the instructors.

What does this mean to faculty? Instructors will receive an email from centerforaccess@necc.mass.edu, (cc:student), which will now include a locked password protected two page Faculty Letter and Accommodation Plan.

Please Note: Accommodations are not retroactive. Accommodations will only apply from the date of the Semester Accommodation Meeting (at the top of the Accommodation Plan letter), going forward. Accommodations approved will not apply to course work or tests that were required to be completed prior to this.

Universal Design

Incorporating the principles of universal design into your teaching enhances the accessibility of the curriculum to a variety of learners, including second language learners, returning students, students with disabilities etc.  Example of universal design: posting class notes online for all students to benefit, reducing the need for a note taker accommodation.

Accessibility of Digital and Online Materials

Incorporating the principles of universal design into your teaching enhances the accessibility of the curriculum to a variety of learners, including second language learners and students with disabilities, etc. Please use and/or design accessible materials in all courses including online, web enhanced, hybrid courses and traditional courses.

Examples of universal design:  posting class notes online for all students to benefit, reducing the need for a note taker accommodation.  Ordering digital textbooks that are compatible with screen reading software.

Order Accessible Materials: Check with the vendor as newer versions of digital online or published materials may now be designed with accessibility in mind!

Available from the NECC Library: For access off-campus, a library-card number and password are required for sign-in. Please contact a librarian if you need help setting up your library account.

Contact or Visit: The Center for Instructional Technology, (978) 556-3681.

Accessible Furniture Accommodation – for in-person courses

Accessible Furniture may be labeled, tagged and placed in classrooms to accommodate students with disabilities.

  • Please do not allow accessible furniture to be moved out of the classroom. For specific questions contact Pam LaBella plabella@necc.mass.edu or 978-556-3654.

Accommodating Attendance/Extended Deadlines Guidelines

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADA-AA) recognizes that issues related to disabilities, such as chronic medical conditions, and other conditions that are episodic in nature, or conditions that require hospitalization, may impact attendance and the student’s ability to meet deadlines. Flexibility may be considered appropriate if essential requirements of the course are still being met. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided guidance on how a student is protected under disability law and the important role the instructor plays in determining what is reasonable. The Center for Accessibility Resources & Services policy has been vetted through Massachusetts Community College Legal Counsel.

Accommodation/Service Provider

Accommodations Assistant

Role might include:

  • Note Taker: takes notes when student is present in class or Zoom meeting.
  • Reader: reads as needed; does not interpret information.
  • Scribe: writes down what student dictates; student completes all editing.
  • Visual Aide, Computer Aide – supports students as needed in hands-on courses.

Peer Note Taking Accommodations

The Center for Accessibility Resources & Services hires peer note takers at Massachusetts Minimum Wage.

  • Training and Materials: we provide “carbonless” lined paper, special note taker notebooks and training.
  • Help Recruit a Note Taker – suggested language: “There is a student in this class that needs a Peer Note Taker.” Please do not mention student names(s) to protect privacy.
  • Send the Peer Note Taker to the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services: refer peer note takers to the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services, SC111, to sign up.
  • Connect Peer Note Taker with Student – suggested language: “For those who have approved peer note taking services you can touch base with “Nancy note taker” at the end of the class…”

Assistive Technology Software and Devices

Assistive Technology and training available at the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services.

  • Alternative Formats for Course Textbooks: common formats include; PDF, EPUB, Microsoft Word, RTF/TXT, MP3, and DAISY files.
  • Audio Recording Devices: cassette tape recorder, digital recorder, or LiveScribe Pen.

Audio Recording Lecture Accommodation:  Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADA-AA) states that students may use digital recorders, smart pens and/or other audio recording devices during class lectures.

The Center for Accessibility Resources & Services requires each student to sign an agreement to acknowledge their rights and to protect the rights of the instructor and other students.

  • Calculators: graphing calculator, talking calculator.
  • Enlarged Materials: the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services can assist with enlarging handouts and other class materials.
  • Graphic Organizer: helps to clarify and organize ideas and information in preparation for written work.
  • Magnification Software or Device: screen magnification software, hand held device or use of Video Magnifier-CCTV.
  • Text-to-Speech: software that reads text out loud.
  • Speech-to-Text: software that converts spoken word into written text.
  • Use of a Computer: use of WordPad (NO spell/grammar checker) or Microsoft Word (spell/grammar checker).

NECC Service Animal Policy

NECC has a posted Service Animal Policy that all Massachusetts Community Colleges use.

The Americans with Disabilities Act’s regulations define “service animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Preferential Seating –  for in-person courses

Common options include: Back Row; Front Row; Near Exit; Near Lights; Near Window.

Testing Accommodations

On Campus Testing Accommodations

In-Person Testing Procedure (does not apply to online exams)

If student requests in-person, accommodated testing:

  • Proctoring by the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services (CARS) involves scheduling staff, space, exam time, and other approved accommodations for each test.
  • Some instructors may choose to coordinate and proctor their own accommodated testing.
  • If student chooses to take their test at CARS, they must make an appointment with our office.
  • CARS notifies instructors of test date and time via email with a request for proctoring information.
  • Please submit exams and proctoring information to CARS via email at minimum, three business days in advance.
  • CARS will need instructor approval for rescheduled exams.
  • For assistance with set up of extended time for online testing, consult with the Center for Instructional Technology.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act requires that accommodated testing must not create an undue burden for students.

When a student schedules to take an exam/quiz at the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services (CARS) with approved accommodations, the instructor will receive an email notification from CARS with a Proctoring Information Request Form attached to complete. Please remember to submit exams and proctoring information at least three (3) business days in advance of the exam date, to CARS.

Tests that don’t arrive on time for the student’s scheduled exam time can be very frustrating and anxiety provoking for the student.

On the Proctoring Information Request form you will be asked to indicate the date test must completed, the amount of time given to other students and what materials the student can bring in the testing room. Email (or deliver) test and proctoring information to the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services centerforaccess@necc.mass.edu (or make other arrangements for pick up).

Note: We do not approve “unlimited time.”

Common Testing Accommodations:

  • Extended Time: an approved percentage (%) of extra time is added to the standard test time.
  • Reduced Distraction: an environment with limited visual and/or auditory distractions.
  • Separate Room: no other testers in the room.
  • Use of Computer: eligible to take test on computer with or without spell/grammar features.

Please call the Center for Accessibility Resources & Services (ext. 3654) if you have any questions. Thank you!